brings ease and
beauty to FF
Seven Handley Page W8b aircraft were built between 1922 and 1936 as some of the first
moderately successful British post-World War I transports that were not
converted bombers. Don Srull was
inspired to build one after seeing Dave
Stott’s three-engine, rubber-powered
W8f fly in 1982.
Don constructed the W8b as a
typical stick-and-tissue Rubber model
would be built, with lightweight balsa
(except where noted on the plans) to
keep the model as light as possible.
The wing was temporarily fitted to the
fuselage before covering. After carefully
aligning both wings, the interplane
struts were fitted and sized, but not
permanently glued in place.
Commercial motor units used on the
plans and the prototype model were
from the HiLine Ltd. Mini-Electric
tinkerer’s kit, although Don wrote that
in all cases the wiring harness had to
be discarded. Three Sanyo 270
mAh battery cells were used for
power. Four-inch plastic propellers
were attached at this time so that
the propulsion system could be
checked before covering.
The W8b pieces were
disassembled before covering with
lightweight, white Japanese tissue.
Three to four thin coats of nonshrinking dope or clear brushing
lacquer went on top. After it was
sealed, it could be sprayed with
two fine coats of silver dope or
A drafting pen filled with thinned
blue enamel was used for marking
stripes and a fine brush was used
for fill. Registration letters could be
masked and sprayed on or cut from
black tissue. Dry, rub-on transfers
were used for the
other fuselage lettering.
The Handley Page logos were
inked onto silver-doped tissue and
adhered with double-sided tape.
The motor nacelle braces were
permanently attached after the initial
test flights in case minor adjustments
were needed. Don carved some foam
pilot figures. He noted that the builder
could “add as much of the rigging and
control cables as you like.”
Don wrote that the first test flights
should be in calm weather, over the
softest surface possible. Batteries
should be test-charged to get a feel for
how long a charge would be needed
for an 8- to 10-second motor run, using
short runs instead of test glides.
When satisfied, the modeler could
lengthen the charge to acquire 5 to 10
seconds of additional power. By 20 to
30 seconds of power, there should be a
slight initial climb, then level cruise.
descend in a slow,
steep glide after power
was exhausted, in what
Don called “one of the prettiest
Free Flight sights you’re ever likely
The Handley Page W8b was featured
in the September 1988 MA as AMA
Plans Service listing 597 and is available
for $5 plus $3 shipping and handling.
AMA members can access MA’s Digital
Library on the magazine’s website to
read more about it. See page 160 or go
for ordering information.
113 Model Aviation OC TOBER 2013 www.ModelAviation.com
To order the featured plans, see page 160,
or visit www.modelaircraft.org/plans.aspx.